A news website on Friday posted a story with the headline ‘Naira Notes Will Be Out Of Circulation Soon, Says CBN Official’.
The story has gone viral on social with many Nigerians wondering what legal tender the country will use if the naira is fizzled out. The story quoted an official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as saying paper currency will soon be out of circulation, urging market men and women to sign into the e-Naira.
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Delta State Branch Controller of CBN, Mr Godwin Okafor, was quoted to have said this on Friday at the popular Ogbogonogo market during the market sensitisation on e-Naira.
However Checks by Daily Trust shows that the CBN official had specifically mentioned the denomination of the naira that will be phased out. They are N5, N10, and N20 notes which the CBN described as lower denominations that have been weakened owing to the declining purchasing power of the naira.
The CBN said this in pursuance of its campaign for the e-Naira initiative that would promote financial inclusion and cashless economy. In fact, the statement about the the denomination of the Naira being Phased out was not made by the Asaba Branch controller of the CBN but rather by the CBN consultant on e-Naira, Dr. Aminu Bizi.
At a sensitisation exercise on Friday at the popular Ogbogonogo Market, Asaba, Bizi explained that traders in onions, sachet water, pepper among other commodities would be educated on how to use the e-NAIRA account to do transactions.
Bizi, who is a consultant with CBN on e-NAIRA, affirmed that the digital platform of transaction is fast, accessible, free and safe with over 99.9% success rate.
“Do you need to go to POS and cash money while ordinary Keke man can receive N50 via transfer? We are planning to meet with the union of Keke to sensitise them and give them a bar code.”
“You have your e-Nair, before you even get down, you scan the Keke scanner bar code and you pay him his fare of N50 or N100. So why should you go and queue to withdraw money? Is it not for you to spend? So if these market people accept e-Naira, people don’t need cash.
“So very soon, you may not be seeing N5, N10 or N20 notes in circulation because CBN is using money to print these notes, and at the end of the day this N5, N10, N20 will be abused.
“Go and see the woman selling corn, fish, they are squeezing these notes, at the end of the day, CBN is losing to reprint more notes to replace the mutilated ones,” Mr. Bizi was quoted to have said.
Daily Trust reports that on October 25 2021, the eNaira, went live after an official launch by President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari had launched the eNaira at the State House in Nigeria’s capital after a previous plan to unveil the digital currency on October 1 was postponed.
Available statistics has shown that Nigeria is one of the five countries in the world to develop an official digital currency. 14 other countries are at the pilot stages of launching theirs, according to the Atlantic Council’s CBDC tracker.
The CBN engaged a Barbados-based digital financial technology firm, Bitt Inc, as a technical partner to develop the e-Naira.
With operations spreading across the Caribbean, Bitt utilises blockchain and distributed ledger technology to facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions with mobile money across a suite of Bitt’s Software and mobile applications.
Nigeria has so far launched two mobile applications which are the eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet on Google playstore and Apple store for the usage of digital currency.
VERDICT: The insinuation that CBN is set to phase out the Naira is totally misleading as Checks showed that only N5, N10 and N20 notes were listed among the denominations which the apex bank said may no longer be in circulation.